Gstaad, Switzerland, July 12, 2019 - The one and only time Bruno Oscar Schmidt left Gstaad with the winner’s cowbell, he won the Rio 2016 Olympics the following year.
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That was when he was with fellow Brazilian Alison Cerutti. Now he’s in the semifinals again, this time with Evandro Goncalves, and might there be some more cowbell and more gold in Bruno’s future?
“Ha! Very superstitious. I like this,” Bruno said after he and Evandro squeaked past Cherif Samba and Ahmed Tijan of Qatar, 2-1 (20-22, 23-21, 15-10). “I treat this tournament very special because the best thing here we were in a beautiful city surrounded by lovely mountains. It’s such a beautiful view to have beach volleyball.
“Also, because I want to build a strong team with Evandro, he’s such a humble guy and I want to give him all the experience I have here. This is the most important for me. I want to put this guy in a good position give him all the support and experience I have here.”
It might be tempting to say that Evandro already has all the experience in the world. He’s a world champion, he’s an Olympian, he’s forever been considered the world’s best server, but really, he’s just entering his prime at 28 years old.
And he and Bruno, also a world champion, are playing in only their eighth tournament together on the FIVB World Tour.
They arrived in Switzerland having been stung by Billy Allen and Stanford Slick of the United States in the first round of eliminations in the FIVB World Championships in Hamburg, leaving with a disappointing 17th-place finish.
“After we had a very terrible tournament last week, and I’m not telling this because of who we lost to, they were two fighters, they deserved it, but we took some lessons from that match,” Bruno said. “That was the most important.
“We want to make tournaments longer. Last week we were there four days just watching, but you know what? Mentally for us it prepared us a lot to come here and not let the tournament escape from us. We’ve gone match by match, day by day and I’m pretty happy we made this one longer because like I’ve said a thousand times, it’s a pretty lovely place to be playing.”
The Brazilians also have a wonderful opportunity ahead of them. In Saturday’s semifinals, they take on the world’s top-ranked team, Anders Mol and Christian Sorum of Norway.
Mol and Sorum are the tournament’s defending champs, and that victory sparked them on an astounding roll of three consecutive gold medals, including the World Tour Finals title in Hamburg. The Brazilians and Norwegians have split their two previous meetings.
“I’m pretty happy with the level beach volleyball is reaching,” Bruno said. “I’m so glad even at my age (32) and still able to be able to play with those boys that are just showing, like the Norwegians, the Russians, the Italians, the Dutch. This for me means the most.”